The Eagles’ 2022 season isn’t too far from kicking off and the anticipation is high. Among the things to be excited for is the Eagles rookie class and we get a first glimpse at the youngsters in a game this Friday. With the Jets on deck for the Eagles’ first preseason game, there are a handful of things to look out for the first year Eagles.
Where, when, and how does Jordan Davis play?
The Eagles ‘2022 first-round pick figures to be a big part of their defensive plans. The question is how quickly he gets integrated into the rotation, where the team will deploy him primarily and how he fares (obviously).
The Eagles defensive line is deep, with Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave as the established veterans on the inside. If the team plans on lightening the load of their veterans in preseason, it is possible we see Jordan Davis early and often against the Jets. If Davis only plays a bit, however, that could also be a sign the team plans he gets a lot of snaps come the regular season.
Davis is one of many new Eagles who can be a chess piece in a Jonathan Gannon defense that should be very multiple this year. The former Georgia star can line up anywhere from the five to zero technique. His size and athleticism allow him to thrive wherever he plays. Friday could give fans a glimpse of what his role will look like early on.
Lastly, how Davis plays will be important. Obviously a learning curve is to be expected, and the Jets have a really solid starting offensive line to test Jordan Davis. However, expectations for Davis are reasonably high and it would be nice to see some flash plays when he is on the field.
Can Cam Jurgens take advantage of Jason Kelce’s absence?
Cam Jurgens was drafted as the heir-apparent to Jason Kelce’s place as the Eagles starting center. The rookie might get an early chance to fill those big shoes as Kelce is dealing with an elbow injury. Jurgens could see quite a bit playing Saturday, even after the starters exit the game.
The Jets defensive line has some serious players who will test Jurgens. The undersized center has a lot to prove in terms of how he can deal with NFL strength, and Friday will give us a first look at what his trajectory looks like. Obviously no one expects him to be an instant impact center, but it would be nice to see him hold his own.
How does Nakobe Dean adjust to NFL size and speed?
It was basically consensus that Nakobe Dean was a steal by the Eagles in April’s draft. Injury concerns dropped him into the third round, but there was no question about his talent on the field.
Of the on-field concerns, is how a smaller linebacker would adjust to the NFL when so much of his game has been predicated on being faster and more aggressive than his opponents.
In the NFL, it will be tougher for him to “out-athlete” his opponents the way he did in college. He will need to adjust to a more physical and faster game, a game that can match the speed he played at in college. It’s possible his early snaps and games will be roller coasters, but he is the type of player who will learn and adjust from those challenges.
I doubt the team will show its whole hand in preseason on how they will deploy Dean, but Friday will be a good chance to see how quickly he can adjust to the basic jump to the NFL.